An early morning fire that damaged eight businesses in Edmonton's north end has been deemed "suspicious," because when firefighters arrived at the scene they found a pickup truck had been driven into the front of the Bonanza restaurant.

Firefighters responded to a call shortly at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday at 137 Avenue and 125 Street, where they found the Bonanza Buffet Co. engulfed in flames. Within half an hour, the fire had been upgraded to a three-alarm blaze.

The temperature was about -25c at the time, with light winds. Firefighters say the damage could have been worse if the winds had been stronger. Crews also battled equipment freezing up, but say they had a constant water supply.

At its peak, sixteen crews, or about 80 firefighters, were battling the blaze, which caused damage to eight nearby businesses. One firefighter sustained a minor injury.

The early estimate of the damage is between $10 and $12 million.

Shortly before 5 a.m., city officials said Cora’s restaurant, Belvedere Cycle and Sports and a local daycare had been salvaged.

But other businesses have been affected by the blaze, including three restaurants, a pet store, a cycle shop and the Love Boutique.

Officials from Atco, Epcor and Alberta Health Services were at the scene.

The Bonanza restaurant will hold a staff meeting Thursday at an alternate location to discuss the company's future.

Lavon Duthie, a waitress at the Bonanza, says she received a text message about the fire at 5:45 am and went to see the damage for herself.

“It’s totally gone," Duthie said. "There’s a big hole where Bonanza used to be”